Woodbury officials are expediting the construction of a temporary water filtration plant that will treat three city wells contaminated by chemicals made by 3M.
The Woodbury City Council approved an emergency declaration Wednesday night to get the plant up and running by the summer. The roughly $5 million project will be paid for by 3M and state agencies.
Six of the city’s 19 wells have been shut down because of the pollution. The city must bring three of them back online as soon as possible to meet water demand on peak days this summer.
If the plant is not operational by summer, the city would have to restrict water use to make sure the system has enough pressure.
The chemicals in question are known as PFCs, short for perfluorochemicals. 3M made these chemicals at its facility in Cottage Grove from the late 1940s until 2002. The company disposed of the chemicals at four sites in Washington County — the same four sites identified as the source of PFCs in Woodbury’s groundwater.
Exposure to trace amounts of PFCs may not cause health problems. However, higher levels of the chemical in the body have been linked to higher cholesterol and thyroid disease, among other issues.
The state Health Department has issued health risk advisories for the six contaminated Woodbury wells since 2017. Meanwhile, the city’s drinking water has remained safe.
“The water delivered to homes and businesses continues to meet all state and federal guidelines,” said Woodbury spokesman Jason Egerstrom.
The water treatment facility will be north of Valley Creek Road and east of Tower Drive. Officials expect the plant to be effective until a long-term treatment solution is implemented around 2025.
State officials are studying long-term treatment options for several east-metro communities and are expected to share their recommendations with cities this spring. Funds for these projects will be available through the $720 million settlement the state received from 3M two years ago.